New Directions in Gender, Education and Poverty

A Roundtable Discussion
24 June 2021, 11.30 – 12.30 (UK time)/ 16:00-17:00 (IST) 

Organised by Dr Srabani Maitra, Dr Sebastian Schwecke, Dr Saikat Maitra 

This roundtable was organised by the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office (MWS IBO), New Delhi, and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) to engage with research on gender, education and poverty by both senior and early career academics. 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and adoption of the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), seek to incorporate and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental (UNESCO, 2017). Concomitant with this, is the emphasis on the critical role of equitable access to education (SDG4) for sustainable development and transformative change.  

Over the past decade, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education and school enrolment rates at all levels, particularly for girls. Nevertheless, some 750 million adults – two thirds of them women – remained illiterate in 2016 (United Nations, 2021) and about 260 million children were still out of school in 2018 — nearly one fifth of the global population in that age group (UNESCO, 2021). Poverty remains a significant constraint for women’s educational attainment. Moreover, how poverty impacts women’s education is complicated by multiple social and cultural contexts.  

This roundtable brought together researchers from the global South and the North to foreground new directions exploring the intersections of gender, education and poverty.  

Areas of focus 

  • Historical trajectories 
  • Socio, economic and cultural dimensions 
  • Policy formulations 
  • Digitalisation 
  • Inclusion and sustainable development 

Prof Ellen Boeren, Research Director, School of Education, University of Glasgow 
Dr Barbara Read, Reader, School of Education, University of Glasgow 
Dr Srabani Maitra, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University of Glasgow 
Dr Saikat Maitra, Assistant Professor, Public Policy and Management Group, IIMC
Prof Parimala Rao, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Prof Nandini Manjrekar, Professor, School of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai
Dr Manish Jain, Associate Professor, School of Education Studies, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, New Delhi
This was an online event.

Legacies of Feminism in Germany and India

A Roundtable Discussion
19 March 2021 (1 pm GMT/ 2 pm CET/ 6:30 pm IST)

This was an online event organised by the Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office and the International Standing Working Group on Medialization and Empowerment at the German Historical Institute London.

Postcolonial feminists and feminists of colour have long sought to complicate the history and study of feminism. Social scientists and feminist theorists like Chandra Mohanty, Kumari Jayawardena and Kimberlé Crenshaw have drawn attention to the simultaneity and intersecting nature of oppression and marginalization. They show that women’s inequality is deeply entangled with other forms of oppression and structures of power, including colonialism, capitalism, racism, homophobia and ableism. By drawing attention to the differences between women, they challenge a homogeneous definition of womanhood, instead showing how categories like race and sexuality have produced different experiences of gendered marginalization. In turn, they contest a vision of feminism based on supposedly universal emancipatory politics. In place of broad, universalizing categories that stem from the experiences of white, western women, these scholars reveal the manifold meanings of feminism and women’s emancipation across time and space, and highlight the importance of situating feminist movements and interventions within their specific historical and geographic contexts.

Building on this scholarship, this roundtable evaluated the historical legacies of feminist activism in two very different contexts: Germany and India. By bringing together the diverse trajectories of women’s rights activism in India and Germany, the roundtable sought to critically examine the meaning and history of feminism. What different kinds of periodization do we find if we move away from the Western-centred genealogy of feminist waves? How has the meaning of feminism changed across different political, social and historical contexts? How has women’s activism in the past shaped how we think about feminism and women’s rights today? And how has feminist activism intersected with other rights-based movements and issues, including decolonization, race and ethnicity, labour, LGBTQ rights, the rights of children and disability?

Featuring scholars from India, Germany and the UK, the panel asked what the historically and geographically diverse legacies of feminism mean for the shared political project of women’s rights today and how have feminists negotiated the push and pull of political change?

Helma Lutz
, Goethe Universität Frankfurt
Janaki Nair, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Samita Sen, University of Cambridge
Paula-Irene Villa, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

The International Standing Working Group on Medialization and Empowerment is part of the international project “Knowledge Unbound: Internationalisation, Networking, Innovation in and by the Max Weber Stiftung.” It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 

Winter School: Making and Un-Making Worlds of Coercion and Confinement




Max Weber Stiftung (India Branch Office) and Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
17-21 January 2022

The Max Weber Stiftung (MWS), India Branch Office serves as a bridge between German, Indian, and international scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. One of its main emphases is on the study of South Asian and transregional histories. The winter schools of the India Branch Office bring together graduate students and experienced scholars within an informal and lively environment aimed at exploring the worlds of South Asian societies and cultures in history and in the present, and using the experience of this exploration as a starting point for new ventures and departures in scholarly discourse.

The Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) is a research cluster within the framework of the Excellence Strategy of the federal and state governments of Germany. It aims to overcome the binary opposition of “slavery versus freedom” by means of inter-disciplinary research focused on the concept of “asymmetrical dependency.”

The Winter School “Making and Un-Making Worlds of Coercion and Confinement”, organized by the Max Weber Stiftung – India Branch Office and the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, seeks to investigate how, across historical contexts, various forms of coercion and confinement were shaped and contested by multiple actors. In particular, it addresses three main themes:

Theme 1 – The spatiality of coercion – looks at the ways coercion was created at the crossroads of (forced or voluntary) spatial mobility and immobilization. The goal is to assess the interactions between coercion in specific sites (including worksites and sites of confinement) and dynamics of coercion in the social context at large. At the same time, we seek to understand the dialectics between mobility and immobilization as strategies of coercing, or as practices and strategies to enhance autonomy.

 Theme 2 – Navigating coercion, constructing autonomy – takes the perspective of the coerced and looks into the practices and strategies by which they– individually and collectively – tried to minimize the impact of coercion, and expand their spaces of autonomy within and outside the specific sites of coercion.

Theme 3 – Intermediaries and labour coercion – foregrounds the role of intermediaries who were themselves coerced, in the production and reproduction of labour coercion. The concept of “intermediaries” is understood here in a broader sense, comprising all subjected people who acted as intermediaries in the process of recruitment, extraction of labour, or as enforcers of discipline; for example as overseers of work, guards in specific settings (plantations, manufactures, prisons, camps amongst others), being part of an inmate or labouring population.

The organizers are:
Michaela Dimmers, M.A., Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Göttingen, Germany,

Dr. Christian G. De Vito, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, Bonn, Germany,

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which could result in travel and assembly restrictions, the dates are subject to change. We strongly recommend Covid-19 vaccinations and other vaccinations necessary for all accepted participants.

A Discussion on the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020

This was an online event organised jointly by DWIH and MWS IBO
14 October 2020

Moderator: Dr. Katja Lasch
Presentations by project partners of MWS IBO
Geetha B Nambissan (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Nandini Manjrekar (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai)
Shivali Tukdeo (National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru)
Followed by Discussions and Question & Answers


* In line with the policy of the State Government of Delhi, the Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office has now reopened. However, we continue to operate with restricted public access and limited hours. Most of the staff members are working from home and they can be reached via email ( or phone (9311397351).

Call for Applications- ICAS:MP advertises multiple Short-Term Fellowships for the academic year July 2022-June 2023

[Closing date: 30 September 2021]

The M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies “Metamorphoses of the Political: Comparative Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century” (ICAS:MP), a project under the aegis of the Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office, advertises multiple fellowships for the academic year July 2022-June 2023.
Click for details

COVID 19 Donations for India

The devastation caused by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in India is undoubtedly a humanitarian catastrophe. The news are heart-wrenching, but the reality is even worse: the lack of medicine, especially medical oxygen, hospital beds, and spaces for cremation and funerals leaves us speechless.
National and foreign media primarily report about the scarcity of medical resources in India’s cities; the dramatic socio-economic consequences of the lockdown for the poorer strata of the society in urban and rural areas only seem to play a minor role in media coverage these days, but it shall not be forgotten.
In this grim situation, solidarity is needed. For those of you who would like to help, we are herewith providing you with a list of organisations which claim to support those who have been particularly deprived in the current crisis, in both urban and rural areas, and who accept donations from foreign countries.

Click for list of organisations

Blog interview on Sebastian Schwecke’s edited volume Rethinking Markets in Modern India: Embedded Exchange and Contested Jurisdiction

Rethinking Markets in Modern India: Embedded Exchange and Contested Jurisdiction (Cambridge University Press, 2020) provides a rich array of vivid case studies – from colonial property and advertising milieus to today’s bazaar and criminal economies – to examine the friction and interdependence between commerce, society, and state. Saronik Bosu of NYU’s New Books Network interviews the volume editors, Sebastian Schwecke, head of the Delhi office of the Max Weber Stiftung and Ajay Gandhi, assistant professor at Leiden University.
Check out the interview here.

Annual Reports

Annual Report 2020

Annual Report 2019

Annual Report 2018

The last paper of the Working Paper Series Education and the Urban in India is published

Paper no. 14: Shivali Tukdeo and Amar Mali, Urban Dislocations and the Politics of Educational Access : Metro Colonies, Bengaluru

The Max Weber Stiftung is now a supporter of the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH):

DWIH Web Talk Series: Social Impact of COVID-19, Indo-German Perspectives

Date: 15-17 September 2020. Organiser: DWIH New Delhi

The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be one of the greatest challenges that the modern world has ever faced. Its impact has been felt on all areas of life – personal and professional, social and political, economic and academic. Since it is a global crisis, it requires a global response. Through this web-talk series, DWIH New Delhi and its supporters sought to utilize perspectives from India and Germany to understand several aspects that have had an impact on the society.

Video Recordings of the Web Talk Series

Day 1: Authoritarianism and Democracy in Times of the Pandemic

Day 2: What about us? The Migrant Labour Dilemma during the Pandemic

Day 3: The Big Digitalization Rush – How Higher Education and Research Organizations in India and Germany respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Call for Papers: Winter School “Making and Un-Making Worlds of Coercion and Confinement” [Closed]

17-21 January 2022 New Delhi

The Winter School “Making and Un-Making Worlds of Coercion and Confinement”, organized by the Max Weber Stiftung – India Branch Office and the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, seeks to investigate how, across historical contexts, various forms of coercion and confinement were shaped and contested by multiple actors.

The Winter School is open to graduate students in history, sociology, anthropology, and archaeology, based in any part the world. We welcome paper proposals focusing on any geographical and chronological context.

Click for more details

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 published by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India:

In May 2020 the Max Weber Stiftung appointed the first official Academic Advisory Board for its India Branch Office.

ICAS:MP advertises the position of Programme Assistant [closed]

The M.S. Merian-R. Tagore International Centre for Advanced Studies “Metamorphoses of the Political” (ICAS:MP), a project of the Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office, is looking for a Programme Assistant. The position is for two years with the possibility of extension.

The candidate will be employed by the Max Weber Foundation, which is a family-friendly, equal opportunity employer dedicated to fostering workplace equality for both men and women.

Click for details

ICAS:MP Short-Term Fellowships for the academic year July 2021-June 2022 [Closed]

Click for details

Vacancy for an Administrative Assistant [Closed]

The Max Weber Stiftung is looking for an Administrative Assistant for its India Branch Office (MWS IBO) in New Delhi. The post shall begin as soon as possible but no later than 1 November 2020.

Click for details

Colloquium on Education and the Urban in India since the Nineteenth Century

This virtual colloquium was organised by the ‘Education and the Urban’ Research Group of Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office (MWS IBO)
24-25 September 2020

Convenors: Indra Sengupta (MWS IBO & German Historical Institute London), Debarati Bagchi (MWS IBO), Yamini Agarwal (MWS IBO)
Speakers: Akash Bhattacharya (Azim Premji University, Bengaluru), Nandini Manjrekar (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai), Debarati Bagchi (MWS IBO), Geetha Nambissan (Former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), Yamini Agarwal (MWS IBO) and Shivali Tukdeo (National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru)

Conference Series: In Global Transit

Against the background of the continuing debate on global migration and its consequences, the German Historical Institutes in Washington, D.C. and London, in cooperation with the newly established Branch Offices in Berkeley (GHI West), New Delhi (India Branch Office) and Peking (China Branch Office), have developed a series of conferences on historical flight and migration research.

This way, the Max Weber Foundation aims to contribute to the analysis of these socially relevant and currently much discussed topics. The great potential provided by the new Branch Offices results from the possibility of bringing in new research approaches and perspectives from their host countries which are situated in regions particularly relevant for migration and flight. Additionally, “In Global Transit” strengthens the network between the new Branch Offices and the long established institutes of the Max Weber Foundation in Beirut, Istanbul, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Warsaw and Washington, D.C.

Overview of conferences:

  • 14 – 18 February 2018: “In Global Transit. Jewish Migrants from Hitler’s Europe in Asia, Africa, and Beyond”, Kolkata, India
  • 19 – 22 May 2019: “In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and other Refugees (1940s-1960s)”, Berkeley, USA